This week’s track is brought to you by our next very special guest contributor – SI CHEEBA
Following a misspent teenage youth of 6 years of travelling round the country non-stop to attend club sessions, all-niters, weekenders and live performances, the Cheeba-Cheeba night was established in Manchester in 1991 with a mainly funk45 & jazz-groove playlist – also touching on funky reggae, latin-boogaloo and a dash of contemporary hip-hop.
This proved the springboard for the newly christened “Si Cheeba” to be asked to guest DJ at other spots around the North of England – such as the DIG! family nights in Leeds, Manchester clubs such as Feva and Hoochie Coochie and the emergent DJ bars such as Dry Bar, Atlas Bar, Day & Night – as well as a residency at Jazz FM’s Liverpool dockside CafeJazzBar.
The rest of the 90s continued guest spots further afield with residency and promotion of several nights –
“codename:FIREFLY” was one playing a mixture of funk, reggae, soundtracks, hip-hop, jazz beats – mixing 60s and 70s original vinyl with the latest 12″ releases from around the globe – for dancers and beat diggers alike.
“Bar-a-cu-da” – was more on the latin – bossa- jazz – boogaloo- brazilian tip. Again playing a mixture of rare-old meets brand-new vinyl.
After relocation to the South East in 2000 the DJ spots have extended to be Essex and London based – with bouts of travelling to Europe and the US. DJ-ing at nights alongside Norman Jay / Ashley Beedle / Ian Wright / Eddie Pillar / Andy Smith / Andy Votel – and guesting at clubs from Berlin to Edinburgh.
Meanwhile the record collecting carried on unabated and took in Funky-Rock and Psyche-Fuzz-Beats to play at Vinyl Vulture events and clubs like Southend’s Blue Meanie – to 60s Latin-Soul and RnB being played at Shake at the Boogaloo – and plenty of Funk 45s and Jazz Breaks to drop at clubs like “Sister Funk” and “Keep The Faith”
Also the last few years have seen his exclusive 45 re-edits being carved to dubplate to be played out to great dancefloor reaction at a number of venues.
In 2010 the Black Cat club was started up with Si Cheeba as resident DJ / organiser alongside world famous music photographer and vinyl fan – Dean Chalkley. This continues into 2013 as a bi-monthly night and has seen them DJ alongside specially invited guests such as ( Jazzman) Gerald Short, Liam (Jukebox Jam) Large, DJ Lubi, Eddie Piller, Freestyle Record’s Greg Boroman, DJ Format, Dean Rudland – amongst many others.
As well as spots at festivals such as WOMAD and Kendal Calling, Si Cheeba has become a regular guest at Snowboy’s GOOD FOOT night at Madame JoJo’s as well as recent guest DJ spots from Paris to Brooklyn and at legendary London venues such as Royal Albert Hall and the 100 Club.
2013 is looking to see further events and nights staged – highlighting various musical genres and also plans for recording sessions for both live musician and sample based productions with a view for vinyl releases. Over to you Si…
“What sort of music do you play?” – it’s a question often asked when people I meet find out that I spend much of my weekends playing tunes to folks in clubs and bars.
Sounds like a simple enough question, but it’s actually hard to explain to “the layman” in a bitesize answer. Usually a vague “old sort of funky stuff” will be enough…rather than rattle off a list of all the genres I will cover such as “funk 45s” / “rare groove” / “golden age hip hop” / “psyche rock” / “jazz beats” / “hammond breaks” / etc, etc
Which is where my choice of record comes in. It is ALL the above genres in under 3 minutes of British eccentricity made in the year of my birth.
> SPENCER MAC – KA KA KABYA MOW-MOW (sing a little love song) – Penny Farthing Records
Kicking off with a war-cry yelp – straight into a head nodding bass and drum loop that wouldn’t sound out of place if the likes of Rakim or Lord Finesse started to the flow with some raps over the top.
Then the “out there” deep backing vocals chant the title before a heart wrenching blue eyed soul vocal expresses his love to show how much he cares. The background vocals eerily repeat the sung lines in a ghostly voodoo chant – under the influences of the bayou funk of Dr John and the darkside of New Orleans.
After a couple of verses the hammond takes the spotlight for the crescendo and it appears Brian Auger has just walked into the studio…then, before you realise what’s just hit you, it’s over and you are left scratching your head to take in all that just happened.
Spencer Mac was the name of the band (not the singer as often thought). They only released two 45, both on Penny Farthing label. The second of which was a great version of Spooky Tooth’s “Better By You (Better Than Me). My copy came into my hands from the legend that is Chris “the Judge” Arthur in the early noughties. It’s one of them records that I’ve played in a variety of clubs – yet the constant reaction is always the same. There will always be someone that comes up to ask “What the f*** was that?” – to me that’s the ultimate seal of approval.